Tag Archives: fantasy

The Hermit and the Coyote, a Cell Phone Case, and Marketing

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Keep your phone warm and fuzzy.

Some people fail. Some people fail spectacularly. Kaija failed mythically, and now she’s trapped in the part of the fairy tale when the monster appears.

When Kaija couldn’t find contentment in the human world, she checked out, turned in the key, and went off the grid. For fifteen years, she’s lived between worlds, hiding in the desert, holding herself apart from nature just as she has from civilization, but when disaster strikes, she finds that no woman is an island. She is dragged, kicking and screaming, to the realization that no woman is an island.

The Hermit is a novel for adults who still love fairy tales, people searching for transformation and magic, readers open to contemporary fantasies with elements of horror and romance, grown-ups who still wish they could talk to the animals.

Not that Kaija wants to talk to the animals–she’s a hermit, after all, and hermits don’t want to talk to anyone–but she can’t make them stop talking her. She can’t force them to quit sharing their fears about the legendary monster stalking the Sonoran Desert. She can’t run away anymore; she’s run as far as anyone can go. If she wants to maintain her sliver of solitude, she’ll have to shrug off the hermit’s mantle, gather allies from both worlds, and go on the offensive to defeat the true monster.

The paperback version of The Hermit will be available this Thanksgiving, but if you want to read it now, it’s already available in the Kindle store ($4.99 for 426 pages of delicious mythopoetic rampage) for your reading pleasure.

If you just love the cover, you can purchase the image of Kaija and her coyote companion on this cell phone case (and pretty much anything else on which you can emblazon images) in my RedBubble shop.

Confidential to all the people who, according to my stats page, woke up this morning, visited QvD in search of a new comic, and got nothing at all: better 15 hours late without a comic than no update, right? If people love my comics as much as they say they do, I hope they’ll consider laying out $4.99 for my book. It’s like reading my comics, but you create the pictures with your brain, so they’re much better drawn, and the word part lasts a lot longer.

 

 

Just a Simple Dragon

Needlenose, an aerodynamic dragon

Needlenose, an aerodynamic dragon

This is a small little drawing, I’d say, but it feels complete, for what it is. Needlenose, being aerodynamic, requires no extraneous parts or ostentation. There’s something to be said for pared down design and utilitarian simplicity.

When I dream at night, my dreams usually unfurl like feature-length reels of film: passion, intrigue, and drama in 3 acts. I am a spy, a soldier, a detective. I travel through time. I change genders, I change age, I change race. I change species. I complete quests and solve mysteries. On the rare occasions that I dream myself back in high school or completely naked, I manage to power through the dream without any noticing that I forgot my locker combination or my pants.

My childhood daydreams were even larger. I needed my own island to protect myself from the world. Literally: an island. Specifically: a mansion on an island where I would live in complete seclusion with my books and my faithful manservant. I would write my novels, unaffected by the rest of the world, a one-way system of communication in which my ideas would be received by an adoring public without my ever needing to venture from my protective base. But I know now that what a person dreams and what a person needs are often worlds apart.

Needlenose needs no adornments to fly, and I don’t need an island to exist happily in this world.

I still dream big. But I live economically. Perhaps my lifestyle is not quite so stripped to the bare essentials as this thin little dragon, but it is richer in art than it is in hard currency, and I’m still creating.

Differently Dragonized

No matter how I try, I will never draw people like Frank Frazetta or Burne Hogarth (sob) (but I keep trying) and similarly, I’ll never draw dragons like Michael Whelan or Donato Giancola (seriously, love the hyperrealism). I may never even learn how to paint, because painting is a fairly expensive hobby, and this experiment is acquainting me with fairly impoverished circumstances.

This dragon is pretty metal, all right. You can see through the page; when I started this project, I was using recycled paper.

This dragon is pretty metal, all right. You can see through the page; when I started this project, I was using recycled paper.

At the same time I started drawing mandalas, I also started dragons that allowed me to let go of my preconceived notion of what dragons had to be. This series imagines a wide range of dragons, and most of them are very distant cousins to the dragons you know from modern fantasy art. They’re not quite cartoons; although some of them are funny, they’re pretty serious in their own right.

Ragtop was snorkeling Scotland’s lochs before you ever heard of them.

Unlike the dragons I labored over in adolescence, these dragons aren’t trying to make the covers of obscure trade paperbacks or adorn the walls of adolescent boys’ bedrooms. They’re just going about their dragony existences, unconcerned with how glamorous they appear in comparison to their more popular cousins.

 

Comics! Part 2

Early 2010, around the time my husband and I first moved in together and I had just started the mandala project. Some of the gold plate/lettering has turned green because my gold Crayola was VERY old and some of the old Crayola metallics used actual copper to get the metallic hue. So, literally, this drawing has begun to tarnish.

Early 2010, around the time my husband and I first moved in together and I had just started the mandala project. Some of the gold plate/lettering has turned green because my gold Crayola was VERY old and some of the old Crayola metallics used actual copper to get the metallic hue. So, literally, this drawing has begun to tarnish.

My natural style, I guess, is a bit cartoony. My people never look like real people, my subject matter runs toward the fantastic, and I tend to add a lot of words. I wish that my work looked serious, but this is what I have. The artist Phil Foglio (whose work I didn’t appreciate when I first saw it in conjunction with Robert Aspirin in the 80s, but later enjoyed on Magic: The Gathering cards, and now, naturally, adore on Girl Genius) is famously quoted as saying that his art career originally stalled because publishers found his work “too cartoony” (except for cartoon publishers, who told him he wasn’t cartoony enough) after which he and his wife won so many Hugos that they had to refuse the nomination to give someone else a shot at the award.

Absent-minded sketching during the world's slowest Scrabble games. Jack and Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, a random chick on a dragon, and proof that I usually win at Scrabble.

Absent-minded sketching during the world’s slowest Scrabble games. Jack and Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, a random chick on a dragon, and proof that I usually win at Scrabble. Rapunzel is wistfully dreaming of a prince, which suggests to me that I was probably single when I drew this. I’m guessing 2007 or early 2008.

Even when I wasn’t doing a lot of art, I was always doodling in margins. This kind of work is less polished, but sometimes it seems to have more life to it than some of the stuff I worked at.

Another little piece of fantasy from the edge of a Scrabble scoring sheet.

Another little piece of fantasy from the edge of a Scrabble scoring sheet. I won that game, too.

It’s almost a nervous habit; if there’s a pen in my hand, I want to use it. I think this is actually some of what Bantock was getting at in The Trickster’s Hat. If you can draw like this, without any attachment to the outcome, but a unshakeable attachment to the process, then you can keep yourself from getting hung up on whether or not it’s good enough and just make art all the time.

I’ve dated a lot of engineers. The mechanical bit in the center here is something that a guy I dated was working on. When he finished, I added me as an angel and him as a devil to the design. Just draw on everything is my point here.